So the book was finished. Now I had to look at my options for publishing. I decided to go with an eBook first, to see if there was any interest in a physical book.
My first thought (several months previously, actually) had been Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I own a Kindle, and it made sense that if I was going to publish it, I’d want to be able to read it on my device. The problem with KDP, though, was that to take full advantage of it (Kindle Lending Library, etc.), you had to give them an exclusive. That meant that my friends and family with Nooks, Kobo and Sony eReaders would not be able to read it. Those with Apple devices would have to use the Kindle app to view it, rather than the native Apple eBook viewer.
Personally, I don’t like exclusivity. I wanted as many people as possible to be able to read Welcome to Newtonberg, so I decided to look at other options. After some research, I decided that SmashWords would be my best option. It was free, it made the book available for a wide variety of eReaders, and it had a very good royalty scheme. The one drawback is that while they provide a Kindle-compatible format, they don’t submit your book to Amazon unless you’ve sold over $1,000 worth through SmashWords.
No big deal. I could still submit it to KDP myself and forego the Kindle Lending Library and the other perks. All I would need to do is reformat the book to meet their requirements. So that’s what I decided to do. (More on this later.)
My first step was to download and read the Smashwords Style Guide. This told me the formatting requirements and what I had to do to be sure that my book converted properly for all platforms. It also told what was required to be listed in their “Premium Catalog”, which would insure wider distribution for the book. As a librarian, I wanted to be sure that libraries would be able to purchase my eBook (if they desired) so their patrons would be able to read it.
Let me say right now that the Smashwords Style Guide does what it says. Step by step, it takes you through formatting your book with examples and pictures; and it does it in plain English. From the time I started to the time I finished was less than two hours.
The actual document was finished.
The one possible snag was the cover. In order to be accepted into the “Premium Catalog” (and to be accepted into iTunes), the book had to have a cover.
I am an author. I am not an artist. I can’t draw to save my life. I am, however, fairly computer literate — I actually did some Web design work in the late 90s. So I was fairly certain I could make something.
I had a firm idea in my mind of how I wanted the cover to look: I wanted a painting. A painting of a country town, either a street view or at least of a country road and a sign with the town’s name on it.
But as I said, I am not an artist. The Internet, however, is a wonderful place, full of talented people out there who just want to share their passion. And I was going to find out if some of them were willing to share their own art to help me…
Next: Designing the cover…